L-R: Dr. Jeff Cox, WCC president; Lisa Parrish, government and community relations manager for Duke Energy; and Jeremy Craft, lead instructor, Biology.

Duke Energy Foundation recently awarded $8,000 to Wilkes Community College for further enhancement of its environmental biology laboratory. The recent grant is the second from Duke Energy Foundation and supports the purchase of new equipment plus continued improvement of the lab class, BIO 140A. The lab class was designed and integrated with BIO 140 focused on environmental biology and regional natural history.

This curriculum gives students hands-on research experiences in the unique ecosystems of the southern Appalachians and tying the local ecosystems and concerns to larger global context. The students study air and water quality in the area, community ecology and alternative energy resources. Students will also be able to participate in student-led research in environmental science, generate data based upon their own questions, come to conclusions, and even present or publish their data.

“I have the best job in the company, because I get to go around the western part of the state and see all the amazing things our communities are doing and the good work that’s being done at Wilkes Community College with this biology class. I am very pleased to announce that Jeremy won a very competitive process to receive a grant for his class,” states Lisa Parrish, Government and Community Relations manager for Duke Energy.

“We applied for the Duke Energy grant a couple of years ago to start up an environmental biology lab. The program is in its third year and each year we have seen enrollment double.

The program would not have been possible without the Duke Energy Grant and we are very appreciative,” states Jeremy Craft, lead instructor, Biology.

The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to address the needs vital to the health of its communities. Annually, the Foundation funds more than $30 million in charitable grants, with a focus on education, environment, economic and workforce development, and community impact. Duke Energy has long been committed to supporting the communities where its customers and employees live and work and will continue to build on this legacy. More information is available at www.duke-energy.com/foundation.